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Tough Toys

When toy fans go wild

By Andrew Kardon     April 04, 2002

Toys are tough. I don't mean tough as in smash-'em-with-a-hammer or strap-'em-to-a-firecracker-filled-jeep tough. No, I mean toys are tough to write about.

Comics? Easy. They've got writers, artists, characters, plots, history, you name it. There's a past, present and hopefully even a future. Plenty to write about there. As for other genre types, it's pretty much the same thing. Video games have creators as well as characters, storylines, game systems, strategies, cheat codes, etc. Movies, books, TV shows all have similar stuff. Basically, they're rich with information. But toys? Well, toys really just have...toys.

With very few exceptions (like the 4 Horsemen currently at Mattel or Art Asylum's Digger), toy sculptors just aren't big celebrities. There's no real past history with a toy. No upcoming plot lines either. Just toys. That being the case, toy fans really just want to know what's coming out, when's it coming out and what's it look like.

[IMG2R] So what the heck am I going to fill a weekly toy column with? Beats the blister pack outta me! But I know that toy fans have one major advantage over all those other genre fans: they're rabid. They'll fight through hordes of other fans just to get a chance at seeing a SNEAK PEEK JANGO FETT figure hanging on a peg. They'll camp out in front of Toys R Us for hours, waiting for a delivery that they don't even know the contents of. And who else but a toy fan would actually suffer through the 867 stupid twisty-ties that keep today's action figures ridiculously secure in their packaging?

Yep, toy fans love their toys and they love talking about them. So I guess I answered my own question. I'll be filling this weekly column with all sorts of nougaty toy goodness. New trends, neat action features, toylines we deserve to have, toy lines that should never have seen the light of day, you name it. If it's toys, I'll be talking about 'em. And I'll certainly have a ball in the process.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a COBRA HISS TANK that's just screaming for an M-80...


TOY TIDBITS


Something sweet is happening again in the toy industry. Yep, the best-smelling toys of all-time (not that that's anything tough to be) are making a comeback courtesy of Bandai. The company recently announced it would be producing dolls, playsets and more based on the popular STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE line, starting spring of 2003. And you can also expect the proverbial animated movie tie-ins to be on their way as well.


EXCLUSIVELY YOURS


Anime fans may be psyched to know that Pioneer is releasing a number of special versions of its new anime ARMITAGE: DUAL MATRIX. Neat, but just what's that gotta do with toys? Well, one of the versions is a limited-edition lunch box complete with a special-edition DVD and a repaint version of the NAOMI ARMITAGE action figure from McFarlane's 3D Animation from Japan series 2. Look for it the end of June.


ON THE SHELVES


Blink and [IMG3L]you'll miss 'em. Yep, the official launch date of STAR WARS: EPISODE II figures is April 23, but the toy wars has officially begun. Hasbro's released four ATTACK OF THE CLONES SNEAK PEEK figures to calm the masses. If you're lucky you can get your mitts on JANGO FETT, CLONE TROOPER, R3-T7 and ZAM WESSELL.

Now your SPACE GHOST figure will be lonely no longer. Toycom's new 6-inch figures of BRAK, MOLTAR and ZORAK are out causing all sorts of mischief on toy shelves everywhere.


Go Figure is our weekly Toys and Action Figure column.

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